A colleague wrote to ask for help moving forward on her dissertation when she's on-site, far away from colleagues and steeped in the details of a life in a foreign country.
So how to move forward when you feel like you're all alone at the Arctic Circle in the middle of the night? Well, she isn't at the arctic circle, she's in a developing nation trying to do research, learn the local language and struggle with daily life issues like broken mopeds, etc.
That's not all, she's also being swept up into activist activities as part of her research and the peculiar schedules of those she's interviewing.
From Bed to Laptop
Roll out of her bed (or cot or hammock if that is the case) right on to her laptop when she wakes up and start writing.
That means writing from 6-9am or 7-10 and only then leaving the house (or hut). This means making sure your machine is charged and doing nothing before writing other than using the bathroom and having some water. This ensures that no matter what happens for the rest of the day that you have written at least three hours. Two hours is enough to move you forward, but I recommend three because inevitably you will go online for something or get distracted for a few minutes.
Ideally turn-off the wifi and go to it. In a few days your brain will be trained with thoughts in the am. Even if you aren't sure what you will write, just sit there. It will come.
When I do this, the rest of the day I feel a sense of freedom and accomplishment. I'm more available to others in my life. She may even feel more present in her interviews.
In sum...write before you can think of an excuse not to.
Let me know how it goes!!
Sarah Federman, PhD